OMNIA Partners Blog

Heat Stress Signs and Prevention

Posted by OMNIA Partners on May 23, 2019


Employers should be aware of the dangers excessive heat has on employees. Hazards of heat exposure are most commonly associated with summer months, however, certain jobs can have extreme heat all year round, like foundry and boiler room work. Physical exertion coupled with heat and humidity can cause more than just discomfort. These variables can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses, some of which can be very dangerous. Make sure you know the signs of heat stress and how to prevent it. 

Types of Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms. Cramping Image-for-Grainger-Heat-Stress-can be alleviated by rest, drinking water, and correcting the body's electrolyte imbalance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advises seeking medical help if the worker has heart program, is on a low sodium diet or if the cramps continue for over an hour.

Heat Rash

Heat rash appears as red spots or small bumps, usually where clothing is somewhat restrictive like on the neck, chest or arms. This rash is triggered by hot, humid weather and when skin is persistently wet with perspiration. This rash is typically harmless and resolves once the skin is cooled and dried, but the inflamed spots on the skin can become infected in some cases.

Heat Exhaustion

According to the CDC, heat exhaustion is often considered a precursor to heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a result of excessive heat, humidity, and an insufficient intake of water or sports drinks. It is usually accompanied by a slightly elevated body temperature of 100.4 -102.2°F and the symptoms include:

  • Rapid Pulse
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea
  • Thirst
  • Decrease in urine production
  • Vertigo
 

OSHA advises that workers exhibiting symptoms be taken to a clinic or emergency room for evaluation and treatment. Follow these steps for those showing signs of heat exhaustion:

  • If medical care is not available, call 911 immediately
  • Make sure that someone stays with the worker until help arrives
  • Remove unnecessary clothing including shoes and socks
  • Cool the worker with cold compresses to the head, neck and face
  • Encourage frequent sips of cool water 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related health Ambulanceproblem. It's caused by overexposure to extreme heat and humidity when the body's temperature regulating system fails and the body temperature rises to critical levels of 104°F or higher. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may rapidly result in death.

According to OSHA, the following symptoms are exhibited by individuals suffering from heat stroke:

  • Confusion, slurred speech, altered state
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • High body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Loss of Consciousness
 

Even though it's important to replace fluids, liquids should NOT be administered to a victim in an altered mental state of heat stroke — there is a risk of the liquids being aspirated into the lungs. I.V. fluids can be given by medical professionals when they arrive at the scene.

Heat Syncope and Rhabdomyolysis

Heat syncope is a fainting episode or dizziness that occurs after prolonged standing or sudden rising. Recommended first aid measures are sitting or lying down in a cool place and hydrating.

Rhabdomyolysis is defined by the CDC as "a medical condition associated with heat stress and prolonged physical exertion, resulting in the rapid breakdown of muscle and the rupture and necrosis of the affected muscles." Symptoms include muscle pain, cramping, swelling, weakness, decreased range of motion on the joints and dark colored urine. Seek medical care for those exhibiting symptoms 

Prevention

To prevent the dangers of heat stress, implement these tips:Sunshine

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade
  • Allow for more frequent breaks and add personnel to reduce exposure time for each member of a crew
  • Modify work schedules during cooler hours like early morning or late afternoon and schedule routine maintenance in hot areas during the cooler seasons of the year
  • Employees working in the heat with moderate physical activities should drink 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes. If the worker experiences prolonged sweating, they should drink sports beverages containing balanced electrolytes.
  • If workers are new to working in the heat or returning from more than a week off, implement a schedule to allow them to get used to the heat gradually
  • Plan for emergencies and train workers about symptoms and prevention of heat related illness

Procurement's Role in Heat Protection

There are a number of products in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can keep your crew safe. The Grainger program offered through OMNIA Partners provides access to reliable products to protect your workers and keep them safe. By protecting employees during the dangerous summer months productivity will be up and consistent. 

To view the full article visit the link on Grainger's website: here 


Visit Grainger.com to learn more about how you can prevent heat stress and keep your employees healthy this summer. Through our partnership with GraingerOMNIA Partners can offer members a complete selection of products, services and resources to help keep your facility safe.

Contact Us for more information.


Topics: Facilities, Industrial Supplies and MRO, Grainger

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